【Hiroshima】Trip in Onomichi and Fukuyama: Exploring Shimanami Kaido sightseeing spots, recommended gourmet and the setting of Ghibli movies
Let's enjoy the sacred place for cyclists "Shimanami Kaido", from its starting point "Onomichi City" to "Fukuyama City" in Hiroshima Prefecture!
Shimanami Kaido is a famous bicycle road where you can enjoy the scenic islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea. This cycling road, connecting Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture on Honshu to Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku, is loved by cyclists from around the world.
Onomichi City and neighboring Fukuyama City are easily accessible. In addition to cycling, they are also suitable to be used as bases for lodging and sightseeing in Shimanami. This time, the FUN! JAPAN editorial department will introduce you to the carefully selected accommodations, sightseeing spots, and gourmet food in Onomichi and Fukuyama!
【Gourmet】Kakizaemon: 3 types of oysters, Onomichi's local specialty sea bream dish
The Seto Inland Sea is rich in seafood, so it is no surprise there are tons of restaurants specializing in seafood. "Kakizaemon" (かき左右衛門), an oyster specialty store in Setouchi, sells oysters of various sizes, along with dishes made with carefully selected oysters in terms of freshness, taste, and volume. The menu is diverse, from orthodox raw oysters and fried oysters to oven-baked oysters - you can enjoy different flavors and textures, and the juicy sweetness of oysters!
Another must-try at "Kakizaemon" is the sea bream (鯛 / tai) dish. The plump texture of translucent sea bream sashimi is definitely a highlight. What's more, we also highly recommend opting for the sea bream chazuke (boiled rice in tea). These are Setouchi gourmet foods that you cannot miss.
After the daytime cycling sightseeing is over, don't forget to recharge your energy by eating delicious food at Kakizaemon in the evening!
- Store name: Kakizaemon (かき左右衛門)
- Address: 2-9-20 Tsuchido, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Hours: Lunch 11:30-13:30, Dinner 17:30-22:00 (LO 21:20), Sunday 17:00-20:30 (LO 20:00)
- Closed: Tuesdays (the following day if Tuesday is a public holiday)
- Access: About 15 minutes on foot from JR Onomichi Station
Around Fukuyama Station
【Sightseeing】Fukuyama Castle Park
Fukuyama Castle is a museum where you can see the history of its construction and various materials - known as the Fukuyama Castle Museum (福山城博物館). The location is right next to JR Fukuyama Station by a mere 5-minute walk. Fukuyama Castle was completed in 1622 as a guardian of the Saigoku region during the Edo period. The main attractions are the five-storied castle tower, the main enclosure (Honmaru), the castle gate of second enclosure (Ninomaru), and turrets. The castle is lit up at night, and you can enjoy a different atmosphere from the daytime!
- Facility name: Fukuyama Castle Museum (福山城博物館 / Fukuyama-jō Hakubutsu-kan)
- Address: 1-8 Marunouchi, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Hours: 9:00-17:00
- Closed: Mondays (the following day if Monday is a public holiday), year-end (December 28th to December 31st)
- Access: About 5 minutes on foot from JR Fukuyama Station North Exit
Tomonoura area, Fukuyama City
Tomonoura is a port town prospered as a port for waiting for the tides during the Edo period, located south of Fukuyama Station on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea.
Thanks to the calm waters of Seto Inland Sea, you can enjoy the spectacular views of Sensuijima and Bentenjima islands if you visit Tomonoura. Also, there are many old folk houses left in Tomonoura, and the movie "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" (崖の上のポニョ) by Studio Ghibli is set in this quiet and rustic port town!
【Accommodation】Hotel Ofutei where you can enjoy a superb view of the sea while soaking in a hot spring
At Hotel Ofutei, a hot spring inn next to the port, you can see the seascape of the Setouchi and the historical and atmospheric townscape since the Edo period from the inside of the hotel - including the lobby on the first floor, guest rooms and the large public bath.
There are many room types to choose from: Japanese-Western style with a 270-degree stretch of landscape open-air bath, standard Japanese-style, and premium twin. Especially the ultra-luxury suite with an ocean-view bathroom is luxurious that makes you want to stay from the bottom of your heart!
The hot spring at Hotel Ofutei is sourced from Tomonoura Onsen, which boasts Japan's leading radium (simple weakly radioactive cold mineral spring) content. It expected the waters help promotes metabolism and are effective in relieving fatigue, arthritis, and neuralgia. Above all, being able to see the beautiful ocean while soaking in a hot spring is truly luxurious by itself!
- Hotel name: Hotel Ofutei (ホテル鷗風亭)
- Address: 136 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Access: Take the free shuttle bus from the South Exit of JR Fukuyama Station (see the official website for the timetable) or take the Tomotetsu Route Bus to the Tomonoura bus stop, then walk for about 4 minutes.
【Gourmet】Chitose: local fish dishes and sea bream rice
Tomonoura has long been famous for sea bream fishing. The 380-year-old traditional "sea bream net fishing method" (鯛しばり網漁法 / tai shibari-ami gyoho) has been designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Fukuyama City,. Here you can learn how thriving sea bream fishing was in Tomonoura.
“Chitose” (千とせ) is a restaurant specializing in live fish dishes and sea bream rice (鯛めし / tai-meshi) which are very popular among locals. The islands of Sensuijima and Bentenjima islands can be seen from the shop too.
The menu offers mainly sea bream dishes, such as sea bream rice, sea bream chazuke, salt-grilled sea bream, sea bream tempura, boiled sea bream, and sea bream sashimi. The flesh of the sea bream is plump and has no fishy smell. This time we had the Setouchi Kaiseki (shown in pictures above). You can enjoy sea bream in various ways in such sea bream cuisine paradise!
- Store name: Chitose (千とせ)
- Address: 552-7 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Hours: Lunch 11:30-15:00 (LO 14:30), Dinner 18:00-21:00 (LO 20:30)
- Closed: Tuesdays (Thursday if Tuesday is a public holiday)
- Access: Take the Tomotetsu Bus from the south exit of JR Fukuyama Station, get off at "Tomonoura" bus stop, and walk for about 3 minutes
【Gourmet】Shionone: A photo spot in a small port town with daifuku and sweets unique to Tomonoura
Tomonoura is a beautiful seaport in the Setouchi, a port town full of nostalgic old folk houses and charming cobblestone roads. Tomonoura is surely a place where you can't help but slow down your pace in the relaxing flow of time. "Shionone" (汐ノ音 - read as Shio-no-ne) is a daifuku specialty store that can only be found in Tomonoura, filled with all the goodness of such Tomonoura.
The store's daifukus use mild salt from the Seto Inland Sea, which has little to no sharp salty taste, and brings out the sweetness of the red bean paste and cream.
Tomonoura Daifuku "Umi" (海) is not only made with mild salt from the Seto Inland Sea, but also has a refreshing flavor that uses lemons from Hiroshima and mandarin oranges from Ehime. Sprinkle the fizzy powder on the surface for a nostalgic fizzy texture - for those who have watched the movie Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea", the image of the main character Ponyo singing and dancing will come to your mind at once!
Another popular item that you should definitely try is the quantity-limited “Tomo no Shizuku” (鞆の雫). It was made with the motif of Ponyo's blue bubbles. The blue, transparent, and juicy mizumochi is served with brown sugar syrup (kuromitsu) and soybean flour (kinako).
"Tomo Soda Float" (鞆ソーダフロート) is also very popular here. It's a photogenic drink that will for sure add a marine resort atmosphere to your photo!
- Store name: Shionone - Tomonoura Daifuku (汐ノ音 鞆の浦大福)
- Address: 869-1 Tomonoura Tomo, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Hours: Weekdays 11:30-17:00, weekends and holidays 10:00-18:00
- Access: About 1 minute on foot from the Joyato Lighthouse (常夜灯)
Fukuyama and Onomichi in the Seto Inland Sea are full of scenic spots and outstanding seafood gourmet. Compared to other big cities, the laid back atmosphere here is perfect for a leisurely trip. If you're up for a short trip to the Setouchi after reading this article, be sure to add Fukuyama and Onomichi to your itinerary!